Explaining science to parents who are skeptical about vaccines

In October, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated its recommendation to link vaccines for more childhood diseases to fewer complications, and to lower some autism rates. While most pediatricians don’t care much what the authorities say, some parents do care, and if you ask them why, most can’t explain it without falling back on their own prejudices and suspicions about vaccines.

In an attempt to educate the public, I met with Emma Teitel, a PhD candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. In her many interviews with parents and colleagues at the Genome Center in Philadelphia, Teitel has explored the side effects of vaccine and the politics of vaccination. Her job, in other words, is to explain complex science in a conversational way that’s understandable for parents.

Teitel believes her research can make a difference for parents and their questions. So I took her comments to explore why many parents think vaccines cause problems in kids, and how the conversations about vaccines can be better.

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